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Russia-Ukraine live news: Poland, Bulgaria ‘face Russian gas cut’

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Poland and Bulgaria say Russia’s Gazprom is cutting off natural gas deliveries to their countries.
Ukraine slams reported Russian move as “gas blackmail of Europe”.
After weeks of pressure, Germany says it will provide its first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks.
The United Nations claims Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed “in principle” to allow the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
The Biden administration stresses it is seeking Russia’s “strategic defeat” in Ukraine and for the country to be isolated internationally.

Here are all the latest updates:

59 seconds ago (03:48 GMT)

Ukraine destroyed Russian missile system on Snake Island: Army
Ukraine’s army has said its forces destroyed a Russian surface-to-air missile system on Snake Island, known as Zmiinyi Island in Ukrainian, in the Black Sea.

“Our forces defeated hostile positions on Zmiinyi Island. A hit on the control point was recorded, the destruction of the Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile system. The losses of the rashists are being specified,” The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote on Facebook. Ukraine’s army often refers to Russia’s forces as “rashists”.

The post also said that Russian forces had tried to advance towards the Mykolaiv region through the villages of Tavriyskoye and Novaya Zarya on Tuesday, “but had no success, suffered significant losses and retreated”.

28 mins ago (03:20 GMT)

Ukraine has recaptured three villages in Mykolaiv: Official
Ukraine’s army now has full control of three settlements in the Mykolaiv region, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has said.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine have returned full control over three villages west of Snihurivka: Shirokoye, Lyubino and Novopetrivka,” Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram.

Al Jazeera could not verify this report.

Men carry an elderly woman as residents from Mykolaiv arrive by bus in Odesa, after being evacuated following shelling. Ukraine, April 16, 2022. Igor Tkachenko/REUTERS

1 hour ago (02:28 GMT)

Czech Republic’s FM calls Putin a ‘product of KGB’
The foreign minister of the Czech Republic has told reporters that “Sadly, Putin’s mind is a product of KGB Soviet era”.

“He really believes in this Soviet myth. They do not consider Ukraine a sovereign state, which means they are against the international order. And this imperialistic vision tends to snowball,” Jan Lipavsky said in Washington before a meeting with his US counterpart.

Blinken praised the Czech Republic for being a “remarkable supporter of Ukraine” and taking in more than 300,000 refugees from the country.

Was a pleasure to welcome my friend Czech Foreign Minister @JanLipavsky to @StateDept today. Impressed by our stalwart Ally’s leadership in support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. pic.twitter.com/m4IylKXwKl

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) April 27, 2022

2 hours ago (02:18 GMT)

Gazprom has not confirmed gas suspension to Poland: TASS
Russia’s Gazprom has not confirmed that the supply of Russian gas to Poland has already been stopped, a spokesman for the energy giant has said, according to state news agency TASS.

Sergey Kupriyanov told reporters that Gazprom stressed that “today Poland is obliged to pay for gas supplies in accordance with the new payment procedure”.

He did not comment on Bulgaria’s claims.

On March 31, Putin signed a decree for a new procedure for the payment of gas by “unfriendly countries”.

“Now such states must transfer funds in foreign currencies to Gazprombank, which will buy roubles on exchanges and transfer them to special rouble accounts of importers. Poland is on the list of unfriendly countries,” TASS reported.

2 hours ago (02:09 GMT)

UN approves measure requiring states to justify veto
The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly have adopted by consensus a resolution requiring the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the veto.

The push for reform, which was greeted with applause in the chamber, was revived by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The measure is intended to make veto-holders the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom “pay a higher political price” when they use the veto to strike down a Security Council resolution, said one ambassador who asked to remain anonymous.

Read more here.

2 hours ago (01:53 GMT)

More blasts heard in Russia’s Belgorod: Governor
A series of explosions have been heard in the early hours of the morning in the Russian city Belgorod near the Ukrainian border, according to the region’s governor.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram message that authorities were trying to establish the location and cause of the explosions.

Russia this month accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod with helicopters and opening fire on several villages in the province.

2 hours ago (01:25 GMT)

Russia probes ‘neo-Nazi’ explosive-device use in Mykolaiv
Russia is investigating the “installation of explosive devices by neo-Nazis in Mykolaiv,” state news agency TASS has reported, citing a Telegram post of The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

“According to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, in Nikolaev [Mykolaiv], near an aircraft repair plant, neo-Nazis have installed radio-controlled explosive devices with damaging elements that they plan to detonate in a mass gathering of people and blame the Russian military for this,” the report said.

The investigative committee has reportedly requested that Russia’s defence ministry “analyse and attach this information to the available materials of the investigation”.

3 hours ago (01:16 GMT)

Russia hits railroad bridge that links Odesa with Romania: Officials
Russian missiles knocked out a strategic railroad bridge along a route that links southern Ukraine’s Odesa port region to neighbouring Romania, Ukrainian authorities have said.

No injuries were reported.

Ukrainian officials also said Russian forces shelled Kharkiv, which lies in the northeast, outside the Donbas, but is seen as key to Russia’s apparent bid to encircle Ukrainian troops in the Donbas from the north, east and south.

Ukrainian forces reportedly struck back in the Kherson region in the south.

A woman from Luhansk region cries while sitting on evacuation train in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

3 hours ago (01:11 GMT)

Russia launched 35 air raids on Azovstal in one day: Ukraine officials
Ukrainian authorities have said that Russian forces launched 35 air raids on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant over the past 24 hours.

“Russia has drastically intensified strikes over the past 24 hours and is using heavy bunker bombs,” Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, said on Tuesday.

“The number of those wounded will be clear once the rubble is cleared,” he added.

3 hours ago (00:41 GMT)

Russia pushing to encircle Rubizhne: Think-tank
The Institute for the Study of War says Russian forces are making “better progress” along the line from Izyum to Rubizhne in eastern Ukraine than any other Russian advances in this phase of the war.

“They are pushing from Izyum southwest toward Barvinkove and southeast toward Slovyansk. They are also pushing several columns west and south of Rubizhne, likely intending to encircle it and complete its capture,” the institute said.

It added that Russia is proceeding “methodically rather than rapidly” but it is unclear if they will be able to “encircle Ukrainian forces in large numbers”. It also says Russian offensive operations elsewhere along the line in eastern Ukraine remain unsuccessful.

#Russian forces have adopted a sounder pattern of operational movement in eastern #Ukraine, at least along the line from #Izyum to #Rubizhne.

Click the link to see the latest report and maps from @TheStudyofWar and @criticalthreats: https://t.co/708vtC2BSz pic.twitter.com/F1BV3E8G0B

— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) April 26, 2022

3 hours ago (00:37 GMT)

Russia staging false-flag attacks in Transnistria: Think-tank
Russia is staging false-flag attacks in Transnistria, Moldova, likely to set conditions for further actions on that front, the Institute for the Study of War says in its latest briefing.

It noted the battalions stationed illegally in the Moldovan break-away region since the end of the Cold War are not sufficient to mount a credible attack on Odesa. But they could support more limited attacks to the northwest of the city, “possibly causing panic and creating psychological effects to benefit Russian operations in the south of Ukraine”.

The institute also said that despite Putin’s claim there is no more fighting in Mariupol, Russian troops are continuing to attack Ukrainian defenders in the city, including in the Azovstal Plant.

#Moldova Update:#Russian forces likely conducted additional false flag attacks in #Transnistria on April 25-26. This is consistent with earlier reports that the airbase at #Tiraspol was likely preparing for Russian aircraft on April 6 and 7.https://t.co/708vtBL0tZ pic.twitter.com/kuOw4MSPm6

— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) April 26, 2022

4 hours ago (00:11 GMT)

Zelenskyy meets Romania’s prime minister in Kyiv
Ukraine’s president has praised Bucharest’s humanitarian assistance to his nation in a meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca who was on a visit to Kyiv.

Zelenskyy also thanked Ciuca for Romania’s support for Ukraine becoming a “full member of the European family as soon as possible”, according to a statement from his office.

“An important component of the common European future will be the absolute protection and development of our national minorities – the Ukrainian community in Romania and the Romanian community in Ukraine,” the statement added.

The Roma in Ukraine make up an estimated 400,000 people. Despite being persecuted throughout Ukraine’s history, many are contributing enthusiastically to the war effort.

A mother and daughter who fled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a local resident’s home, in Tiszabecs, Hungary March 2, 2022. Bernadett Szabo/REUTERS/

4 hours ago (00:01 GMT)

Australia sending Ukraine M777 howitzers
Australia has announced it will send six M777 howitzers, and ammunition for the long-range weapons, to Ukraine after being asked to do so by the US and Ukrainian embassies.

The latest package of military assistance is worth 26.7 million Australian dollars ($19m), taking Australia’s military aid to the war-torn country to more than 225 million Australian dollars ($160m).

Australia has already sent other weapons and military equipment, along with 20 of its Bushmaster armoured vehicles.

4 hours ago (23:37 GMT)

Ukraine’s military ready for escalation in Transnistria:  Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s president has said that his military is “ready for a possible escalation in the temporarily occupied territory” of Moldova.

He made his comments in a press conference after meeting with IAEA Director Rafael Mariano in Kyiv, after a series of attacks targeted sites in Transnistria, a Russian-backed breakaway region in Moldova which borders Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said Russia’s goal was “to destabilise the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova. They show that if Moldova supports Ukraine, there will be certain steps”.

He added he knew the Russian troops in Transnistria were in a state of “constant readiness” and that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were “ready for this” and “are not afraid of them.”

4 hours ago (23:32 GMT)

Putin agrees ‘in principle’ to UN role in Mariupol evacuations
Russia’s president has agreed “in principle” to UN and International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) involvement in the evacuation of civilians from a besieged steel plant in Ukraine’s southern city of Mariupol, according to the UN.

During a meeting in Moscow, Putin and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed the situation at the Azovstal steel plant, where the last Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol are holed up after months of Russian siege and relentless bombardment.

“Follow-on discussions will be had with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defence Ministry,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement after the meeting.

Read more here.

5 hours ago (22:50 GMT)

Nearly three in four Americans back arms shipments to Ukraine: Poll
Some 73 percent of Americans support US efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons, the highest level of support since Russia’s invasion began, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll also showed that 46 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s response to the war.

5 hours ago (22:43 GMT)

British auction house launches benefit sales for Ukraine
Christie’s auction house has launched a three-part series of benefit sales, expected to raise $1m for Ukrainian heritage, Ukraine’s foreign ministry has announced.

In a tweet, the foreign ministry said the British company aims “to help heritage professionals in Ukraine lay the groundwork for future rehabilitation”.

Christie’s has launched a three-part series of benefit sales, expected to raise $1m for #Ukraine heritage.

The initiative aims “to help heritage professionals in Ukraine lay the groundwork for future rehabilitation” as cultural losses mount.#WeAreUkraine pic.twitter.com/QZxq0x1WZQ

— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) April 26, 2022

6 hours ago (22:05 GMT)

Ukraine tears down monument symbolising friendship with Russia
A Soviet-era monument symbolising friendship between Russia and Ukraine was dismantled in Kyiv, the city’s mayor has said.

The statue depicted a Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, holding aloft together a Soviet order of friendship. The statue was located underneath the People’s Friendship Arch, erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union.

“This monument … symbolised friendship between Ukrainian and Russian nations. We now see what this ‘friendship’ is – destruction of Ukrainian cities, ruining the lives of Ukrainians, killing tens of thousands of peaceful people. I am convinced such a monument has an entirely different meaning now,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Symbolic. A monument to “friendship” between Ukrainians and Russians dismantled in Kyiv. First, the “Russian” head was taken down. pic.twitter.com/6YPhhSV5EO

— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) April 26, 2022

6 hours ago (21:53 GMT)

Russian gas cut-off a ‘seismic warning shot’: Expert
Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at data intelligence firm ICIS, has said Russia’s alleged threat to suspend gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria is “a seismic warning shot”.

“Poland has had an anti-Russia and anti-Gazprom stance for a number of years, which is not the case for Bulgaria, so to see Bulgaria also be cut off is also quite a development in its own right,” he told the Reuters news agency.

Poland’s energy supplies are secure, its climate ministry said, adding that there was no need to draw from gas reserves and that gas to consumers would not be cut. Bulgaria said it has taken steps to find alternative gas supply and no restrictions on gas consumption were required for now.

6 hours ago (21:32 GMT)

UK to urge West to ‘double down’ on Ukraine support
Countries opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must double down on their support for Kyiv, including the supply of heavy weapons, tanks and aeroplanes, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will say in a speech.

“If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe. We would never feel safe again. So we must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine,” she will say according to advance extracts of a speech she will give later on Wednesday to diplomats and business leaders in London.

“Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.”

7 hours ago (21:04 GMT)

Ukraine slams reported Russian threat as ‘gas blackmail’
Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has said Russia was “beginning the gas blackmail of Europe” by its reported threat to cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

“Russia is trying to shatter the unity of our allies. Russia is also proving that energy resources are a weapon,” Yermak said.

“That is why the [European Union] needs to be united and impose an embargo on energy resources, depriving the Russians of their energy weapons.”

7 hours ago (20:43 GMT)

Poland, Bulgaria say Gazprom is suspending gas supplies
Polish and Bulgarian officials say Russian energy giant Gazprom is suspending supplies to the two countries starting on Wednesday.

If confirmed, Poland and Bulgaria would be the first countries to have their gas cut off by Europe’s main supplier since Moscow started its all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Putin has demanded that countries he terms “unfriendly” agree to a scheme under which they would open accounts at Gazprombank and make payments for Russian gas imports in euros or dollars that would be converted into roubles.

7 hours ago (20:28 GMT)

US offers $10m for information on cyberattackers
The US Department of State is offering a $10m reward for information leading to the “identification or location of any person” engaged in cyberattacks against critical US infrastructure.

In a statement, the department said the US is specifically seeking information on six officers from the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) “for their role in a criminal conspiracy involving malicious cyber activities affecting US critical infrastructure”.

The US Justice Department had charged the same officers in 2020 in connection to a 2017 malware attack that targeted international and US businesses.

The reward offer comes as the US government is urging private sector companies to tighten their cyberdefences against possible Russian attacks.

8 hours ago (20:15 GMT)

Canada to alter it sanctions law
The Canadian government will change its sanctions law to allow for seized and sanctioned foreign assets to be redistributed as compensation to victims or to help in rebuilding a foreign state from war, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has said.

“Today, we are seeking the capacity to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities and to allow us to compensate victims with the proceeds,” Joly said in a statement.

“These changes would make Canada’s sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow these actions.”

8 hours ago (20:05 GMT)

IAEA to help repair damage to Ukraine’s Chernobyl plant
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said he agreed with Ukraine to help repair the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant after it was occupied by Russian troops.

“It is visible that there is damage and we are assessing that,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told a news conference in Kyiv after visiting the station.

8 hours ago (19:50 GMT)

US says it is seeking ‘strategic defeat’ for Russia
The US State Department spokesperson has said Washington is seeking a “strategic defeat” for Moscow in Ukraine that would leave Russia economically weaker and more isolated internationally.

“When we talk about strategic defeat, we’re talking about Moscow’s positioning in the international system,” Ned Price told reporters.

“The Moscow that prepared to invade and that on February 24 went forward with its invasion, will not be the same Russian Federation in terms of its positioning on the world stage.”

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Tuesday, April 26 here.

Source : Al Jazeera English

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